T-Mobile IPhone 5 Building Penetration

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by JavierDiaz4, May 6, 2013.

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Does TMobile's IPhone 5 Coverage Penetrate your building?

  1. Yes it reaches in perfectly

    8 vote(s)
    21.6%
  2. Somewhat, limited/dimished service

    19 vote(s)
    51.4%
  3. No service whatsoever

    10 vote(s)
    27.0%
  1. JavierDiaz4 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #1
    Any issues with this with TMobile with their version of the IPhone 5. I have No Service inside my workplace and I sit in the interior perimeter of the building.
     
  2. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #2
    It's a limitation of the bands TMobile uses. Not the iPhone's fault. 1900 and AWS are poor for signal penetration.

    AT&T uses 700 for LTE and 850/1900 for HSPA/EDGE and it's significantly better for building penetration
     
  3. Kevin813 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    #3
    No service in my school. I can literally watch my bars drop from 5 to 0 as i walk in. That's the price I pay for great service every else.
     
  4. JavierDiaz4 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #4
    My thought exactly. Thanks for confirming. Definitely a deal breaker that others should consider.
     
  5. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #5
    Which iPhone version do you have right now?

    With a Tmobile SIM card inside my old Verizon iPhone 5 I used to get 1-2 bars inside almost every building while it's at least 3-4 now with the AWS iPhone 5.
     
  6. JavierDiaz4 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #6
    I tried at first the ATT IPhone with the TMobile Sim for a few days and had No service inside my workplace. I bought an IPhone TMobile at lunch today and it ping-pongs from NO Service to one tiny bar. So I guess it's "better" but definitely not worth jumping ship from ATT for now. I need reliable service. I did read that the AWS/LTE is still poor in building penetration. It'll be going back in a few hours and I'll keep ATT. Good thing I didnt port over anything as it was experimental.
     
  7. crisg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    #7
    No issues in San Diego. Perfect signal regardless of being in a building or not.
     
  8. E2EK1EL macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    #8
    AWS needs a lot of cell sites to maintain a stable signal, especially for indoor environments.

    In Canada, our three major carriers uses AWS for LTE. They've over-layed all their existing cell sites that already have Edge, HSPA, HSPA+, DC-HSPDA and now with LTE.

    We also have other carriers that only uses AWS HSPA+; just like T-Mobile stories here, the signal is very weak indoors and will tend to have no services, even within their coverage area.

    Personal experience: Sometimes meeting friends at a mall is catastrophic, the other party who uses a AWS HSPA+ carrier won't even have signal at all and hunting them down by foot is the only way.
     
  9. osofast240sx macrumors 68030

    osofast240sx

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    #9
    There are other factors to consider. All things being equal building penetration won't be that much different. I most likely have the worst possible scenario. I work in a building that has no windows and thick walls but I still have adequate signal penetration. mostly because of the location of the antennas out side my building.
     
  10. beegie, Oct 4, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013

    beegie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    Oh boy, this thread is scary. I had decided to go T-Mo prepaid with an older ATT-3Gs & an iPhone-5 (if I can still find one), but was concerned re the double decker bldg. where I spend all my time which the top roof is metal. I've had ATT on the 3Gs 4 years in this same location, no problem whatsoever, 99% 3G network.

    I've never had T-Mobile service so was going to trust trying it based on (1) my city supposedly is now re-farmed, & (2) based on this informative post dated 8/24/13, by "BruiserB":
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=17781869&postcount=334
    That sounds so hopeful, but will the T-Mo "building problem" likely persist anyway? :-/? (No nearby window either.)
     
  11. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #11
    Well I can give you my current experience. Currently have a 4S on a soon to end Sprint contract. Decided to try T-mobile to go with a cheaper prepaid plan than my current one. I ordered a 5S and received it on earlier this week. I've been testing it the last few days, but in the end I decided to return it to Apple. I got good reception(4-5 bars of LTE) at home and in most places of the metro area I live. The most important location was my place of work. I use my phone as my work phone and need a solid connection. Unfortunately, my workplace is where cell phone signal goes to die. There are dead zones in the building for every major carrier. I found T-mobile was mostly unusable in the building. LTE dies at the door and '4G' struggles in half of the building. At my desk, it can swing from 1 bar of '4G' to 2 bars of EDGE, all the way down to no signal in the course of 30 seconds. Makes the phone mostly useless.

    So in the end, I decided to return it and will stick with Sprint. While not the fastest carrier out there, I get a steady 3 bars or more of signal at work. My area is in the process of upgrading to LTE on Sprints network. Hopefully it performs about the same as it's 3G service. I will be moving to Sprint's prepaid service this time around on Virgin mobile though. Cheaper plan and still on Sprint's network.
     
  12. beegie, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013

    beegie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    T-mo coverage maps reliable?

    Hi Yoursh, thanks for sharing your T-Mo experience. Did you check T-Mo's coverage maps for your home & office? What "color" were your home vs office?

    Excellent > Darkest forest green
    Very Good > Darker green
    Good > Light green
    Satisfactory > Lighter green
    Yellow > 2G (horrors!)
    Off-White > No coverage
    Yellow-Stripes > Partners (?)

    I'm curious because the T-Mo coverage map shows I'm in their "VERY GOOD" reception area/Darker Green. (There's a school nearby in the top best level, Excellent/Darkest forest green).

    Was your home, where you got good T-Mo coverage, in their Excellent, Very Good, or Good zone?

    In comparison, how bad/"colored coverage level" on their map was your office?

    I ask because I'm wondering if their coverage maps can even be trusted. Thank you! & so sorry their cheaper plan didn't work out for you. :(
     
  13. beegie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #13
  14. fairfax38 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2013
    #14
    At hotels in Denver and the convention center my buddies had 5* LTE inside with AT&T while my T-Mobile was nothing. AT&T has contracts to install repeaters in large venues so you get proper coverage inside. T-Mobile is to undeveloped to provide this service. What good is tethering with T-Mobile from inside your hotel room if you get no service. Meanwhile AT&T users are computing on with 5 bars of LTE. Only good thing with T-Mobile is my 30 days is almost up and I can drop them immediately.
     
  15. parseckadet macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #15
    The advise I've seen around in general is to only trust the coverage map for the top two categories. I've seen this on various forums for all the carriers, including T-Mobile.

    While this is generally a good indicator, and will help you determine whether a carrier is even worth considering, nothing is better than doing your own testing with your own phone. I say this because I live in an area that is solidly in the middle of "good" AT&T coverage, their second best category. Yet my phone is pretty much useless in my house.

    Given that experience, I would expand the general advise I mentioned above. Determine the 2-4 areas where you are going to be using the phone 75% of the time. For most people, this will be home and work, and perhaps additionally a friend or relative's house. These 2-4 places should have the best coverage possible on the map. The routes you routinely take to/from/between these places should be almost entirely covered by at least the second to last category (i.e. "Good" on T-Mobiles maps, and also "Good" on AT&T's maps), since you don't need as strong of a signal in a car as you do in a building. Additionally, of the places you visit 20% of the time (malls, grocery stores, other friend's/relative's houses etc.), as many of them as possible should be covered by at least the second best category on the map. The final 5% I consider places that you can't truly anticipate visiting in advance. The best you can do is examine coverage for areas you are likely to visit in the next year or so.
     
  16. beegie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #16
    Thank you, parseckadet, for that expanded advice, especially re the top two coverage levels being, as a general rule, the only two worth considering. That sounds hopeful since my main location most of the time is in T-Mo's 2nd Best Level ("Very Good" vs. "Excellent").

    Interesting that ATT calls their 2nd Best "Good" (vs "Very Good"). For 4 years on ATT w/a 3Gs running old iOS, in this same location, it has been 98% great, w/Edge only showing up a few times.

    Thanks again.



    ----------

    Thanks for that warning re the Denver area. I know people out there so should give them a heads up re No Go T-Mo.

     
  17. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #17
    Maps don't mean anything. First of all, they're procedurally generated and not created by testing coverage at every point on the map. Second, they don't indicate coverage within a building. No carrier will tell you what you can expect for indoor coverage. You need to test real world coverage and see if it works for you.

    Years ago I lived in an area marked as "good" on TMO coverage maps and coverage was completely unusable.
     
  18. parseckadet macrumors 6502a

    parseckadet

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #18
    Yeah, AT&T really dumbed down their coverage map recently. Then went from 4 categories to only three. I pretty much consider their maps entirely useless now. Compare that to T-Mobile, who uses 5.
     
  19. beegie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #19
    Sounds like typical evil Big Telcom watering down the info so people can't be sure what they're getting into. That or their Map Maker quit. ;)

     
  20. beegie, Oct 8, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013

    beegie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #20
    Thanks, Takeshi74. If it wasn't such a huge hassle just to "test" a new phone's reception indoors, sigh. Buy a phone, sims, switching plans, test reception, oops, no good. Rinse Wash Repeat x T-Mo, Verizon, Sprint, ad nauseum.

    The "good news" re "bad reception" is that that means the location is not yet totally saturated with Radiation:

    Wifi Radiation Visual:
    http://www.electricsense.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/5.jpg

    Article that pic came from:
    http://www.electricsense.com/6369/wifi-radiation-made-visible-to-human-eye/
     
  21. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    #21
    You're correct about the relationship between frequency and penetration, but the phone always is a factor, too. The quality of a phone's transceiver and antenna system often makes a noticeable difference.
     
  22. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2006
    Location:
    MN
    #22
    For reference, my home is solidly in an 'Excellent' coverage area. It's near the downtown of a major city, so I tend to have good signal with all carriers in my house. My work location is in the outer metro/suburbs. It's in a business park bordered by a park/golf course to the west and a wetland/lake to the north. On T-mobile's map, it is only in a 'Good' coverage area.

    Coverage is all really relative. Like others have said, it really depends on where you need to use your phone. I was on AT&T for 7+ years and never had issue with them until the last 9 months or so. I started to get really odd connectivity with my 3GS at my work place. It had been working fine with an average of 2-3 bars. Then about 9 months before my contract ended, the connection started to get flaky. My iPhone would show 3 bars but would have little to no actual data connection. Constant time outs and connection fail errors. It would go fine for several months then become unusable for weeks at a time. Then suddenly start working again. It was a localized issue, because I could get in my car and drive a couple miles and my 3GS would start connecting fine. As I said before, my phone also functions as my work phone and I need a solid connection since I am 'on call' for some aspects of my job. After my contract ended, I moved over to Sprint primarily for the unlimted data since I tend to use a bit more than the current caps on ATT or Verizon. As I noted, I get a solid 3 bars at work and a steady data connection. While not as fast as the other carriers, it's only theoretical if the phone can't connect.

    As of now, the T-mobile 5S I ordered is on it's way back to Apple. Once I get my refund, I'll be putting in an order for Virgin mobile model. It has cheaper plans like T-mobile but is Sprint's prepaid service. Only big drawback is the inability to unlock Sprint-based iphones. Since they're locked to Sprint, they have a bit lower resale value. I've been noticing this since I've been researching selling my 4S after I upgrade.
     
  23. maffiaavc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2013
    #23
    That's the price I pay for great service every else.[​IMG]
     

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